- Am I letting things go because I’m worried about making things worse for the person being targeted? Some things we do when we witness cyberbullying – even when we’re trying to help – can make things worse, so it’s always a good idea to step back and think about the situation before jumping in.
- Am I hoping that someone else will do something so I don’t have to? A lot of people are reluctant to take action, but did you know that almost three-quarters of kids who’ve witnessed cyberbullying did something about it? If that surprises you, it may be because a lot of the things we can do to help – like speaking privately to the person who’s being mean, or letting the person who’s being targeted know you care about them – don’t happen in public.
Like it or not, if you use the Internet you have an online identity. Some people call this your “brand.” What’s a brand? Think about a brand of soft drink, or computer, or jeans, or a band or a sports team. You probably have a certain idea about each one – what it’s like, who buys it, and so on.
One of the most common ethical decisions kids face online relates to how they access and use content like music, games and videos. We can help kids make better choices by teaching them about the issue: in one study, one-quarter of young people said that they would stop accessing content illegally if it was more clear what was legal and what wasn’t.
Sexting is most likely to have negative consequences when the person sending the sext has been pressured into doing it.
It is natural for adolescents to be curious about sex: MediaSmarts’ research suggests that one in ten grades 7- 11 students use the Internet to look for information about sexuality. Forty percent of boys look for pornography online, with 28% looking for it daily or weekly. The problem with pornography is that it is an unhealthy response to a healthy concern.
Recent research has shown that not all youth are equally at risk online, nor are all online activities equally risky. Rather, there are certain characteristics and online activities that could be considered risk markers – indications that someone is likely to take risks online and fall victim to online sexual solicitation. Many of these markers are the same as those used in the identification of at-risk youth; in general, the same youth are at risk online as offline.
You may not realize it, but you have a lot of power when you’re online: you can cheer people up, make them laugh, and help to make your school, your town or even the whole world a better place. The flip side is that what you do can make things worse, too. That’s why you have to think about what you say and do online, and try your best to do the right thing.
Doing the right thing online mostly comes down to the three R’s of respect: respect people’s privacy, respect people’s feelings and respect people’s property.
You can make the world a better place TODAY. 10 tiny ways you can make the world a better place today.
Before you react, ask yourself:
Lots of times kids will say they’re not bullying, they’re ‘just joking’ – in fact, it’s the number one reason for being mean online. Other times, people will play down how serious the situation really is.